First Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce opens its doors

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – There’s a brand new organization in Columbus hoping to grow African-American owned businesses.

The Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce (COAACC) opened its doors two weeks ago. Already, they have at least a dozen members including Dehan Enterprises, LLC.

“Yes, we are growing, but not at the rate that we should and can,” said principal at Dehan Enterprises Sandra Moody Gresham.

She’s a part of one of the first African-American owned businesses to join the newly created Chamber of Commerce.

“Unfortunately, our system still reflects some discriminatory practices that prohibits us sometimes from getting those larger opportunities that could accelerate our growth,” she said. “We needed our own chamber. There is the Hispanic Chamber, the Asian Chamber, we needed an organization that spoke for our businesses.”

Executive Director of COAACC J. Averi Frost said this chamber has been in the making since 2015.

“People have been very, very excited about just for the idea to come together,” she said.

The chamber is already working on issues like getting better access to contracts and specific levels of government for businesses.

“But, also there’s always the issue with access to capital, specifically as far as contract financing so how do we get the money so we have cash flow to run these larger and larger projects,” she said.

Frost said the chamber will make sure the interests of African-American businesses’ are fought for.

“We’re here to serve and empower and educate African-American owned businesses in the region,” said Frost. “Now it’s just about action, making sure that we’re delivering the results that people are looking for.”

You can fill out an application to join COAACC online. There, you can also find out more about the organization’s benefits, workshops and resources.

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